Battle of the Books

cb9c2b1bc0fb978749f9fa347c1c04c2There are many, many reasons I’m glad my tour of duty as an elementary school mother is over. Sure, I enjoyed aspects of having younger children like being able to actually understand their homework. I also loved the field trips and school parties until the sugar police took over and turned school celebrations into a treatise of why food is the enemy. I’m still steamed about the time my Halloween cupcakes, with probably two inches of the yummiest buttercream frosting you’ve ever tasted accessorized with a Nutter Butter cookie dipped in white chocolate to look like a ghost, were turned away at the third grade classroom door for “exceeding the sugar guidelines.” Haters.

Besides the sugar wars perhaps the number one thing I don’t miss about elementary school parenting is Battle of the Books. Because it’s a battle alright . . . between the parents. For those of you not initiated in the ways of turning reading into a competitive bloodsport let me explain. Kids voluntarily sign up to participate in Battle of the Books. Teams are formed and parents offer up their services to be “book coaches.” Each grade level is assigned the same 10 (or so) books to read. Kids on the team pick at least two books they plan to be the “experts” on and study groups are formed so each team is prepared for the book battle which usually takes place a couple of months after the teams are in place.

If you’re thinking this sounds like super, fun, edu-tainment with the added benefit of helping kids hone their reading comprehension and retention skills than you couldn’t be a bigger idiot. Did you miss the “parents as coaches” part? Hello, red flag of doom right there. Like many things that end badly this whole parents as book coaches seems like a decent enough volunteer gig. How hard can it be? You meet with the kids a couple of times a month, feed them a snack, discuss the books and bring on the battle.

Except that’s not how it goes down because being a book coach is a demanding job primarily because you have to read all the books. When I found this out I was stunned. I didn’t want to read some of these books 40 years ago and now not only was I required to read them, but I had to dissect them with a Machiavellian mindset. You see the battle questions are not so much about the story as they are about the most nitpicking details of the book like what color socks a character wore on page 83.

So, when you read the book you have to think about what questions will the Battle Chairperson/Judge ask (who usually is the most OCD member on the PTA board) and then make sure your team knows the answers. This is done by making question and answer sheets for each book. I naively suggested to other book coaches that we share our Q & A sheets that way we (the mothers) don’t have to read all the books. Holy paper cut, you would have thought I suggested that we start a swingers club. The outrage was that intense.

Maybe if I had known that some of these parents had been working on building their battle teams for years I would have kept my mouth shut. Little did I know that battle scouting starts in early elementary school. You’re not looking for the strongest readers, but the children with great memories. So, that kid on the field trip who won’t shut up about baseball stats from 1973 – that’s who want on your team. And if you hear a rumor of a child who might have the tiniest bit of an eidetic memory start your Battle of the Books wooing.

When it comes time for the battle the kids are just psyched to missing class, but for the book coaches it’s game on. These parents are locked and loaded. They know these books better than their child’s soccer schedule. It becomes not a combat between the kids and their novel knowledge, but a battle of wits between the parent coaches and the parent/book quizzer.  Armed with all the books highlighted and flush with Post It Notes the parent coaches are ready to challenge not only questions and answers, but the subtle nuances in the ways the queries are asked and the responses judged.

At this point it’s mom against mom and to the victor goes bragging rights because that’s what’s it’s about, right? A parent’s reading prowess. As I watched all this play out I thought to myself why don’t we just save ourselves a whole lot of time and trouble and just have one quickie meeting where we all share our SAT scores. It sure would be a whole lot simpler and the end result would be about the same.

*Attcover_1.3-2ention Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

Five Ways to Get Out of Volunteering At Your Kid’s School

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It starts in late summer with emails from the PTO alerting you to various “fulfilling” volunteer opportunities awaiting you at your kid’s school. On the first day of your school your child’s backpack is stuffed with sheets of colorful copy paper – each one proselytizing a “fun” volunteer gig. By the second week of school you’re being solicited as you wait in your car in the after school pick up line. Week three of the new school year the gloves are off and you feel a little like you’re being bullied into chairing the school spirit wear sale. When week four hits you give in from equal parts sheer exhaustion and because you get the feeling some of the other moms are talking about you and not in a good way.

Now, before you tape this list to your refrigerator please be advised that I have loved volunteering at my children’s schools. In fact, I have met my best mom friends from doing my volunteer due diligence. But there are times in one’s life when you need a pass from tallying up the school gift wrap orders which is why this handy list was created.

1) Have another baby. A newborn will get out of any volunteer duty. Just showing up at school with your bundle of joy is akin to wearing a sign that says “Leave Me the Hell Alone!” But beware by the time that baby celebrates it’s second birthday you will be considered back on the market and hit up with a vengeance. After all, you’ve had  a “two year break”.

2) Volunteer Outside the School. This one will buy you a year max. But it has to be a substantial volunteer opportunity with not just any organization. It should be high-profile – say Junior League president or chairing the Symphony Guild. Being a Cub Scout Den mother won’t do anything for you. In fact, it could hurt you as in – “Well since you’re already doing the popcorn sale for the Cub Scouts it would be sooo easy for you to just tack on chairing the school’s cookie dough fundraiser. I mean they’re like pretty much the same thing – right?”

3) Start a New Job. Tread carefully when using this one and make sure the words part-time job don’t enter into your career description. Which means even if it is part-time or a home based business as far as anyone on any committee at your kid’s school is concerned you’re putting in 40 plus hours a week.

But be warned this is not a “forever” excuse. It’s simply a single “get out of being a committee chair” voucher. The whole job thing in the school volunteer lexicon is meaningless because there’s always a mom who is a cardiovascular surgeon and is piloting her own jet to Syria two days a week to perform life saving medical treatment with the International Committee of the Red Cross AND is treasurer of the PTO.

4) Get New Agey. Share that you are restructuring your life and prioritizing your family’s goals to enhance pivotal bonding moments and increase your spiritual connection to the Sun Goddess Shemesh therefore leaving you with zero time for “other world” commitments. Sure, there will be talk that you’ve booked first class passage on the Space Shuttle Cra Cra with non stop service to WTF but I can guarantee not only will you be left alone but people will be wary of making eye contact with you.

5) Volunteer for the Big One. By this I mean agree to chair your school’s biggest fundraiser. Oh, I know it sounds counter intuitive, but trust me one big volunteer commitment is your get out of jail free card for YEARS. Here’s how I suggest playing this for optimum long-term impact. When your eldest child is in third grade bite the bullet and say an enthusiastic yes to the fundraiser. While chairing the fundraiser let it be known about all the hard work you’re putting in, the hours it’s stealing away from your precious family, and for extra measure I always like to throw in that it’s causing just the tiniest bit of marital discord. All of this is excellent info to share at any PTO meeting when you’re asked to do an update.

After the fundraiser is done and has exceeded expectations, because who are we kidding you were in charge and of course that means fundraising records were set, you then ride off into the school volunteer sunset. What all this means is for the rest of your tenure as a parent with school aged children you can use the excuse that you Chaired the (insert name of fundraiser here) back in (insert year here) and you really are still recovering. No one will dare challenge that statement and instead will look at you with awe and in some cases eyes aglow with reverence and thank you for your service. Sure, it’s was months of hard work, but if you do the math and extrapolate that over the years your kids are in school you’ll find that it’s a cost benefit analysis winner!

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new fall Snarky line of clothing and accessories. Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.)

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

The Reverse Stubing – Part 3

You’ll be relieved to know the whole me in disguise scenario was quickly abandoned.  Nikki, diplomatically pointed out that my, “Personality was too unique to camouflage.”  What she really meant was my fat ass, but I appreciated her kindness.

What totally convinced to give up the disguise plan was when Kelly said, “Two words for you – yoga pants. Don’t you remember last year when you said you were going to try on some yoga pants to see how the other half lived. So, you went to Lululemon and got a pair.  You can’t have forgotten what happened next?”

“Yeah, I remember. I pulled them on, which left me a little winded from the exertion of getting them up and over my thighs. It was a like a workout with resistance bands and I spent the better of a day walking around with a camel toe in the front and a butt crack peek-a-boo in the back. Yes, it was horrible.”

Kelly added, “Your exact words, I believe were, ‘It was a 8 hour lycra colonoscopy.’ You also over shared that you ‘needed tweezers to get the pants out of your crack.’  So, yeah, thanks for that. You do know that all the backstage helpers wear black yoga pants, black T-shirts and, I know you’re going to love this, an apron.”

I maybe could have suffered through the yoga pants, but there was no way I was wearing an apron. Sure, it would have covered the camel toe, but the apron to me said, “I’m here to serve.” I couldn’t stomach the thought of “serving” those moms.

So, I went with Plan B – sneaking backstage and saying I was there to take some behind the scenes pictures for the PTA newsletter. We all thought that would work. Nikki, though, would be doing the heavy lifting. She said she was up for it as long as I was right beside her.

We all finished our mojitos, except for ABC who wanted a “roadie.” I gave her a Snapple instead and everyone rounded up their kids and headed home.

The Evening Before the Style Show

Nikki as instructed had signed up to volunteer as a backstage helper. She also e-mailed Charity and said she would be “flattered beyond words” to be her “dresser” for the event. Each mom and child model had a dresser.  A person that would help her them get the clothes they were modeling on and off.  Charity took the bait and picked Nikki to be dresser.

This evening Nikki and I were going to the Bridal Boutique to pick up the gown Charity would be modeling. All the stores that were letting clothes leave their premises for the style show required that you pick up the clothes up right before the event and then return them right after the style show is over.

We were showing up the night before for two reasons. One, I had cased the joint and knew that the owner of the store that help pick Charity’s gown did not work in the evenings. I didn’t want anyone in a position of authority to question us or worse, report back to Charity.

Two, that meant only three young women would be working and I felt they wouldn’t question us. We needed that to ensure we could successfully pull a bait and switch with Charity’s dress.

As soon as we walk in I go up to the youngest looking woman working behind the counter and tell her we’re here from Edgewater Elementary to pick up the bridal gown that they’re letting us borrow for our style show. She knows just what I’m talking about and goes in the back of the store to get the gown.  When she brings it out. I ask her to unzip the bag so I can confirm that it’s the right dress.

I confess to the sales assistant, “The woman this dress is for is sooo picky.  I don’t want to be the one that brings the wrong dress. Have you meet her? She’s kind of orange.”

The young woman laughs and answers, ‘No, but I’ve heard about it. We all call her the tangelo.”

“Oh my,” I say as I’m inspecting the gown, “This dress is too big. It says it’s a size 8.  Do you have this in stock in any smaller sizes? The tangelo is tiny.”

“Wow, sorry. I’ll go check right now.”

The clerk comes and says she had the gown in a size 6 and 2.

I look at Nikki, we’re both smiling, and say, “We’ll take the size 2.”

My only worry is if the manager of the store sees the size 8 gown tomorrow she may wonder why no one has come to pick it up. We don’t want Charity to get a phone call. I ask the clerk, “You know now that I’ve thought about I’m just a little worried to leave the size 8 here. What if Charity, the tangelo, had something planned we don’t know about. We’re both, (I gesture to me and Nikki) a little afraid of her. She’s got a temper. Would you mind just zipping the size 8 in her too and letting us get this worked out. I don’t mind leaving a credit card on file with you if that’s what it takes.”

“Oh no, that won’t be a problem. We’ve got Charity’s card so, yeah, go ahead and take the dresses.”

Five minutes later we’re walking out the store with both gowns. Score! We drive to Kelly’s house so she can change the size tags on the two gowns. Kelly is one of those women who is blessed with crafting abilities.

She knits beautiful hats and does amazing scrapbooks for her girls. Even the paper she uses would qualify as works of art and she gets very excited about pagination.  Out of the four of us she’s the only one who could gently remove the size tags and change them out without hurting either gown.

In a matter of minutes the size 2 dress is wearing a size 8 tag. We are good to go for the style show.

One Hour Before the Noon Style Show 

I’m en route to the country club for the Style Show. I’ve got ABC in the car with me. She’s holding a box on her lap that contains the Style Show programs. When we get there I’m going “backstage” to check on Nikki, to make sure she’s surviving her Hot Mom Tour of Duty and ABC will be busy putting the programs on every table.

I felt kind of bad for ABC. She was feeling left out so I had her work with my son to make up a fake ad for the program which was a faux plastic surgery clinic.

The ad read: The Plastic Surgery Team of Lee, Gummelt  & Martin is proud to support Public Education and Edgewater Elementary.  We’re also proud of our patients. Sixteen of the Mommy Models have experienced our surgical artistry in the form breast implants, tummy tucks, fanny lifts, facial injectables and vaginal rejuvenation – proving our clinic can keep you in “model” form.”

I emailed in the ad from a school computer straight to the company printing the program (good luck tracing it back to me) and yes, it’s mean. So what?

Furthermore, if these women don’t want me messing with their program then they need to quit putting me in charge of all the PTA’s printed material. Doing the school newsletter, directory and crap like the Style Show program is deemed, I’m sure, by the hot moms, work for the “attractively challenged”.

They also need to proof better. The mock ad was in the final proof and the committee signed off on it.  All I’m saying is they need to work on their attention to detail. Plus the ad is like a brain teaser.  The audience can play “Guess Who Got a Boob Job” or  “Whose Hoo Haa is Back To Full Virgin.” It’s just another example of how I’m always giving back.

We get to the country club and ABC and I go our separate ways. I head straight to a portion of the C.C.’s ballroom that has been cordoned off to dress the models. Bless Nikki’s heart I can hear Charity squawking even before I get into the room.

She’s in four-wheel drive bitch mode, screaming at kids and moms, the country club staff, pretty much anyone that crosses her path. She’s got her hair in hot rollers, is wearing a white silk robe, and some angry-looking stilettos that scream “I have my podiatrist on speed dial,” while her acrylic nails keeps tapping a checklist on her I Pad.

I run over to Nikki, put my arm around here and ask her if everything is going okay.

“No, it’s not okay. Charity should not be in charge of anything, ever! I thought she was bad just as a human being.  But, add in being the boss, like she is here, and it’s Cruella De Ville drinking crack cocktails.”

“I’m so sorry, but hang in there this whole this is over in two hours and I know it’s going to be so worth it.”

“The only thing getting me through this is the look on her face when she tries to get her orange butt in that wedding dress.”

“About the dress – has she looked at it?”

“Yes, but all she did was unzip the bag to make sure I picked up the right one.”

“Okay, great?” right after I say this Charity sees me and clip-clops over in her heels to ask me what I’m doing.

“You know behind the scenes stuff for the newsletter,” I say very importantly.

“I guess that’s okay,” she spits out. “Just make sure I get to approve what you write and also no photos without my approval.”

“Yeah, sure. No problem,” I say, but in reality if Charity wants that much control over what goes in the lame PTA newsletter then she can write the damn thing.

The Style Show Begins

I duck out and hang with ABC and Kelly.  We entertain ourselves by watching people leaf through the program and either gasp or laugh when they see the plastic surgery ad.  Right at high noon Charity comes out in a Michael Kors suit and introduces herself and goes to a podium off to the side where she’ll MC the Style Show until right before the grande finale when she comes out in bridal couture.

I stay in my seat and watch the show until I see Charity hand over the MC reigns to her Style Show vice chair – the second ickiest woman on the planet Jacardi Monroe. (For more information on Jacardi please see Do You Know This Woman?#2)  As soon as Charity starts walking towards the “model” dressing area I get up and follow her.

I hang back until she’s out of her Kors suit and begins to step into the bridal gown that Nikki is holding. Nikki gives me a look that says, “Here comes the shit storm” as she’s helping Charity pull the dress up it stops at mid-thigh. Charity begins really tugging at to get it to move. Her face is turning Capri Sun Fruit Punch Red from pulling on the dress so hard. That’s my cue to rush over and ask if I can help.

“No, You. Can. Not. Help,” seethes Charity.

Nikki says, “Charity let’s try pulling the dress over your head and see if that works.”

Good job, Nikki, I think to myself. That will totally tornado her hair.

Nikki stands on a chair and begins to lower the gown over Charity’s head.  The gown makes it as far as Charity’s boobs and won’t budge. The dress has become a chest tourniquet

By this time Charity is having a melt down. She pulls the dress up and off, F bombs are flying like Fritos at a second grade slumber party. Charity screams, “You F’d up. This dress has got to be wrong size.”

That’s when I step over and say, “Nikki check the tag?” Of course, I know what’s it’s going to say, but I had to play this out. By this time we had quite an audience.

Nikki, like she’s trying to tunnel her way to freedom plows through all the dress fabric, finds the tag, and pipes up in a very chipper voice, “No, it’s a size 8!”

“There is no way in hell this dress is a F’ing size 8!” Charity screams. Her bellow was so intense her full body spanx seemed to vibrate.

“I know,” I say, “Let’s really loosen the corset ties and try again.”

The gown was one of those bridal dresses that you lace into like Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind.  So, Nikki and I remove the lacings and enjoy the sight of Charity trying to stuff herself into the dress.  This time it goes on, but there is no way we’ll be able to lace it together. There’s at least a foot of naked back staring at us, but that doesn’t stop us from “trying.”

“Charity,” I say in a very loud stage whisper, “You’re not pregnant (pause) with twins are you?

“F No”!

Well, then girl you must retaining water like a sperm whale or Shamu is in your family tree because I don’t think there is anyway we can make this fit. Could you, I don’t know, do something like “Quadraspanx?”

“What the hell is that?”

“Quadrapspanxing is when you wear four pairs of Spanx.”

“I’ve already got on a body-shaper and booster butt panties and I’m having trouble breathing. I can’t wear any more F’ing Spanx!!”

“Okay, okay calm down FATTY We’ll figure this out.” Oh, what joy that F word brought me!

Right after I said, that two hot moms are running towards us screaming, “Shut up, shut up!  We can hear all of you on the runway, especially you!” They both jab their overly blinged fingers in my face and while we’re talking about fingers whoever thought that “crackled” nail polish look was a good idea was totally wrong.

“What are you talking about?” I ask sounding very confused and innocent.

“Charity, you left your microphone on!”

“I most certainly did not.  I took it off as soon as I came back here to get dressed.”

All eyes turn and stare at me.

Charity points at me and shrieks, “You have my microphone on! Why?”

“Hey, you threw it on the floor.  All I did was pick it up and clip it on my pants so it wouldn’t get trampled on.”

“But you turned it on. I know you did!”

“I don’t even know how to turn it on.” I rip the mic clip off the waistband of my pants and say, “Here, take it and turn it off.”

While, throwing the mic I’m thinking “Excellent, everything is going just as I had planned.”

Remember when we were young and all we needed to get something from a guy was a smile and maybe a deep lean over so he could get a glimpse of our upper to mid boob?

Now, that we’re in the cavernous pit of middle-aged to attract a man’s attention we’re forced to use LPC – Laser Precision Complaining.  A lethal mixture of angry mom and psycho school librarian. That’s exactly the tactic  ABC used with the dude running the sound board at the Style Show.  As soon as I headed backstage she got up and started bitching at the sound board guy about how the mics sounded “scratchy” and everything was “way too loud.” “We’re not paying you for reverb young man!”

ABC in his face distracted/flustered him to such an extent that he never cut off Charity’s mic which meant everyone could hear the meltdown. This is what attention to detail looks like my friends. Don’t leave home without it.

(Alert Snarky readers will also noticed the microphone mix up sounds very much like the ploy I used in “So, I Was Kicked Out of the Junior League. Is That So Wrong?” Let’s just say I’m a firm believer in recycling.) 

I ask, “Could you hear me call Charity a fatty?”  I tried to sound concerned and apologetic.

“Yes, and a sperm whale!  Couldn’t you hear everyone laughing?”

“No, we were far to busy trying to shove Charity into this damn dress.”

Nikki says, “No worries, no worries. Everyone calm down. Charity focus on getting dressed.  We’re just going to lace you in the best we can.”

“You know I have another solution,” I volunteer.  Charity you could get back in your suit and have someone else, someone who might actually fight into the dress, model. Like Nikki, here.”

Nikki quickly answers back with, “Oh no, I couldn’t wear that gown. It would just swim on me.  You’ll need a much bigger girl.”

I step back and look at Nikki, like a proud parent.

Way to come through with the lethal insult!  To think one year ago, she was so shy she cried when another mother complained about the quality of the marshmallows she used in the Rice Krispy Treats she made for the winter kindergarten party.

(Truth be told it wasn’t the marshmallows that were the problem it was the generic rice cereal. I may only have a B.A. degree, but if there’s one thing I know it’s baked goods and cereal based dessert treats.) And now, with my gentle guidance she’s blossoming into a snarky woman. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Nikki and I begin to lace the gown. It looks wonderfully hideous. From the front the dress is simply horrible. Charity’s boobs are barely contained and there’s puckering everywhere from her body trying to escape.

The back, what can I say, the back is a thing of rare beauty. The ultimate fashion no. You see more spanx than dress and the laces look like they’re could give up at any minute. Plus, the combination of spanx, too tight dress and laces that are fighting for their life have funneled any excess skin/flab Charity has into a case of extreme back fat that jiggles when she attempts to inhale air.

Like I said, it’s a sight to behold. We lie and tell Charity she looks fine – kind of.  I believe our exact words are, “This is probably as good as its going to get.”

Charity shoos both Nikki and I out-of-the-way, stops at a mirror, fluffs her hair, attaches some stupid looking blusher veil and starts walking out of the dressing room to the runway.

Nikki and I run as fast as we can so we’re in the audience for Charity’s big reveal. Charity walks out on runway and I’ll give her this, she worked that bridal gown.This 43-year-old, orange, mother of two swayed her hips and sashayed it with everything she’s got, which was a problem.

Each time she gyrated the gown’s corset, whose tensile strength was being severely tested by the fact that a size 8ish body was forced into a size 2 gown, would become looser and looser. Bring on the double nip slip!

It took Charity a couple of seconds to realize her nipples were free, free at last. She quickly turned around to walk back up the runway and that’s when you saw the gown gaping open and the wonder of the back fat funnel.

The gasps that occurred when Charity’s nips winked at the audience were replaced with at first chuckles, then laughter that worked it’s way to howls.

That was our cue to leave – quickly. Nikki, ABC, Kelly and I hauled out of  ballroom. Our work here was done. As we walked out of the Country Club and headed towards the parking lot I couldn’t help myself, I started singing The Love Boat theme, until ABC told me to shut up which, of course, only made me sing louder.

Love, exciting and new
Come aboard, we’re expecting you
Love, life’s sweetest reward
Let it flow, it floats back to you

Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure
Your mind on a new revenge.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

Undercover Snarky – The Finale

It was time.  At exactly 6:30 I was in the safe haven of the Target parking lot. It was our pre-determined rendezvous point. I was leaving my car here and Eleanor would be picking me up.

I was ready for battle.  I had on full makeup – serum, eyeliner, the works and my arms hurt from using a round brush to blow dry my hair.  My flab was tucked away under a double layer of Spanx, well really triple layer, if you count the compression properties of Spanx black “Tight End” tights. (Black tights are the only way a true cankle sufferer will expose her deformity.)

I wore my “I mean business” outfit, of a Boden black wrap dress, blazer and heels that would put me at a little over 6 feet tall. I needed the height. The PTF board would be on a raised dais and I would be speaking from the floor. I wanted to make sure I could not be easily dismissed.

I also carried my black with navy trim Coach Outlet brief case/bag. Full disclosure here, I bought it a couple of years ago because I thought is was a briefcase satchel with lots of nifty compartments. Come to find out it’s a friggin diaper bag! (What a fitting metaphor for my life.)

My final touch was an upgrade from a spritz of Gain Febreze to the newly released limited edition Febreze Seaside Spring & Escape. (I had a coupon.)  The whole hair, makeup, dress outfit were doing double duty. I wanted to convey a “I’ve been at an office being smarter than you” vibe and it was also a disguise.

I don’t normally look this way so if I ever run into to anybody that saw me at the meeting they wouldn’t recognize me. I sat in my car checking out my makeup in the rearview mirror when I saw Eleanor pull up. Wow, she looked good!  I think this was the first time either of us had seen each other in something besides jeans. I grab my diaper bag/briefcase, take one more glance at myself, hop out of my car and them almost wipe out because I had forgotten I had heels on.

I get in Eleanor’s front seat and ask, “Is everyone in position?”

“Yep, All Business and Moisturize More are already at the school. Cute Blonde is waiting to make an entrance and Orphan Annie is on stand by in the school parking lot.”

“Excellent.”

We get the school and I go in first. Eleanor follows me in about three minutes later with Orphan Annie not far behind. I didn’t want anybody to know that we’re together.

I approach the cafeteria and gasp. Imagine if you will the Kardashians running an elementary school meeting. I’ll give you a second to get that image in your head. Got it?  Okay, now I’ll continue.

As you enter the cafeteria there is a portable smart board set up with pictures of the PTF board members. These aren’t images of the board volunteering at the school or chaperoning a second grade field trip taken with someone’s i phone. Oh no, think professional grade glamour shots with a wind machine.

There are single shots of each board member and group shots. Each one serving up a side of cleavage and some pouty lip action. My favorite was a black and white head shot of Priscilla Davis with bare shoulders, her neck extended, her face kind of arching towards the camera, the “wind” blowing her hair back and her glossy lips slightly parted.

In PG 13 terms it looked like she was about to get the backdoor ride of her life. If you know what I mean and I think you do.  While this photo collage was unfolding on the Smart Board the top 40 hit, “I’m Sexy and I Know It” was being played.  I don’t know if it was coordinated with the Smart Board or if the custodian had a radio on, but parents were entering the cafeteria to the lyrics of, “Girl look at that body, girl look at that body, girl look at that body I work out.”

I’m stopped from entering any further into the cafeteria by the sign in table. Parents are waiting about 10 deep in line to sign in. This is not something I want to do so I pretend I see someone I know and bypass the table.  Except an frisky PTF board member whose whole appearance shouts, “I vajazzle!” stops me.

“Excuse me, but all parents must sign in before entering the meeting.”

“Yes, I know. I’ll be right back to sign in, but I must talk to that other mom over there for just a second.”

Vajazzle didn’t seem like she was going to let me pass so I did my version of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” and said, “You have the prettiest skin. I need to talk to you later about what you’re doing. You look amazing.”

That’s all it took to get past Vajazz and get the seat I wanted. The last row by the exit door to the parking lot. I sit down and smile when I see Cute Blonde working the room. She didn’t let me down.

She was hot in a denim mini skirt with stretch boots that went over her knee. The best part about the outfit was the top. It was a tight long sleeve scoop neck t-shirt and oh God Bless her, Cute Blonde appeared to be bra less.  She didn’t have huge boobs. In fact, she was kind of what I would call a small B cup, but she had young boobs. Extremely pert, naturally sag free, 100% organic breasts that showed no sign of stretch marks, breast-feeding wear and tear or any other of the ravages of time that slowly teach our “twins” to touch our toes.

I was impressed and I was pretty sure every women in the room hated her which was just what I wanted. The PTF board couldn’t keep their eyes off of her. They keep on staring and whispering. It totally distracted them from the storm that was brewing.

Right before 7 o’clock Orphan Annie walked over and sat beside me. I wanted her next to me.  She was our weak link and I needed to keep an eye on her to make sure she didn’t blow it. She was also my ride out of here. I was pleased to see she was sans mustache.

Moisturize More was standing by the dais. She looked so good I might have shorten her name to just More. As I was staring at her she tripped and the contents of her purse dumped out of the dais. Cute Blonde went over to help her tidy up.

The air got sucked out the room when Cute Blonde bent way over and gave everyone in the first couple rows of seats a look down her shirt.  All Business was in the fourth row. She had on a suit and her hair had been given a professional blow out. Eleanor was on an aisle seat seven rows back. The meeting didn’t start until 7:05 because that’s how long it took for the “Pussy Cat Dolls” of Spring Creek Elementary to strut up on the dais.

Board president Priscilla Davis grabbed the microphone and did the fling and shake with her hair like she was filming a shampoo commercial. My feeling is when you are legally of age to buy alcohol you need to remove “hair flinging” from your repertoire. She then called the meeting to order.

The first 10 minutes were all about the pledge of allegiance, the parent and teacher welcome, approving the minutes from the last meeting and then, finally, we got to the good stuff  – voting on the slate of officers. It was go time.

I stand up, walk into the aisle and raise my hand making it impossible not to notice me, but alas, the board president attempts to do just that.  I then use one of two “gifts” the Lord gave me, the ability to amplify my voice without the aid of a microphone.  “Pardon me,” I say, “Pardon.”  Everyone turns around and looks at me (remember I’m in the back row) thus forcing Priscilla to acknowledge my presence

She growls, “Yes.”

“Hi everyone,” I say, “I’m Sam’s mom”

(Sam being the most common boy’s name at the school and as every women reading this knows once you have a kid any introduction of yourself for the next 18 years will begin with “I’m _____ mom.  Also, it’s a safe bet if you’re trying to infiltrate a school that you pretend to be the mother of a boy. The mothers of girls know each other better. I think it’s because the mom/daughter connection fosters more gossip due to an estrogen fueled “need to know” quest. I also find that generally the moms with a higher daughter to son ratio will be the ones that run the school. I’m not saying its’ right. I’m just saying that’s the way it is.)

“And one of my New Year’s resolutions was to become more involved in my son’s school. (There’s a slight chuckle from the audience.) So, here I am!  I just want to say that I have a . . .”

(The next three words I’m about to say, will, if all goes right, be the beginning of BBG (Bitches Be Gone).

“Point of Order.  I don’t believe we can vote on the slate of officers until the entire membership, that’s all of us here, vote on the changes that were made to the bylaws that allow officers to serve more than two years. So, what I’m thinking is that the new bylaws need to be voted on first and if that passes then we can vote on the proposed slate of officers.”

Priscilla fires back in a bored tone (like how dare the little people annoying me), “But the bylaw changes were already approved in an executive session meeting the board had last month.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I must not have made myself clear, the board can not approve any bylaw changes without a full vote of the membership. That means it’s great that all of you voted it in (as I’m saying this I use a sweeping arm gesture to indicate the board) but it really means nothing until the membership votes.”

All Business stands up and shouts out, “Yes, what’s she saying is 100% correct. We need to vote on the bylaw changes first.”

Then a rogue mom jumps up to speak. I’m thinking she’s the enemy because she’s wearing fur.  Who wears a full length fur with jeans to a school meeting? It’s not even cold enough for a fur. (Granted it’s better than horsey pants with a fur, but still it’s a little wrong.) It went from bad to worse when the first words out of her mouth were, “When I was Junior League President.”

Holy mother of God, I now have a furry former Junior League President to deal with. Crap. Faithful Snarky readers know I was, back in the day, kind of, kicked out the Junior League  (See: So, I Was Kicked Out of the Junior League – Is that So Wrong?)  so I don’t exactly have the warmest feelings towards the organization. I have to be careful or Furry will hijack the whole meeting. I don’t want to yield any of my power so I stay standing. I give All Business a look and she also doesn’t sit down.

Furry Junior League continues with, “We at the Junior League followed the strictest code of parliamentary procedure in accordance with the Junior League policy on meeting conduct so I must take an exception to Sam’s mom statement that the membership has to vote on the bylaw changes. First, we have to vote on rather to vote on the bylaw changes.”

Great, I’m thinking death by Parliamentary Procedure, and really how many times can one woman work Junior League into a sentence, but at least the Furry J.L. backed me up – kind of.  I’m pretty sure she’s wrong about the vote about the vote, but what the hell I need to move this meeting along.

I say, “So we need a motion from the floor to vote on whether  to vote on the new bylaws.

All Business makes the motion, Moisturize more seconds it and it sounded like everyone said, “Aye” meaning it was time to move on to the actual vote on the bylaw changes.

Priscilla, clearly aggravated as signaled by her repeated lip gloss applications, keeps trying to push everyone to vote on the bylaw changes.  She says, “Enough of this let’s vote on the bylaws.”

I hop up again, “Sorry, to be such a pain, but I believe before we vote you need to entertain any discussion from the floor about the bylaw changes.”

Priscilla sighs, kind of stamps her foot while picking at a cuticle and very quickly says, “Alright, is there any discussion from the floor. I’m thinking no, so let’s go to the vote.”

Eleanor springs out of her seat and yells, “I’d like to discuss it.”

I shout, “Me too, because I’m thinking you ladies are saints to want to be PTF board members AGAIN.  Give yourself a much-needed break and let someone else do the heavy lifting.”

This gets the crowd talking.  Priscilla, looks just the slightest bit panicked and I see her glancing at her other board members.

She then almost eats her microphone and says, “It’s not a problem. We all loooooove volunteering.  We’re all about the kids.”

Orphan Annie jumps up and goes 100% off script and yells, “Yeah, it’s all about your own kids not yours!”

Which was all Cute Blonde needed to hear. She says, “Hey, Priscilla how many times has your daughter gotten Student of the Month? Three times? Is that how you’re all about the kids?”

The crowd is now getting into it. Awesomeville! Priscilla is banging her gavel which she or someone has glued crystals to so it looks like something a judge would use if they were holding court in a strip club.

I then go to part 2 of the plan. Part 1 was to stir the pot and get things to a boil. Part 2 was to give the principal a little ass whooping.  I signal to Moisture More by holding up the peace sign.  She moves out into the aisle and says, “Let’s all speak one at a time so everyone can be heard.”

This does the trick and as the crowd gets semi-quiet. I say, “I’m new to this whole volunteering thing, but and I guess this question goes to the principal how do moms get to pick things like student of month and decide what child gets an award. Isn’t that your job and the teachers?  Why would you abdicate that responsibility to parents? I mean, talk about a conflict of interest. You can’t expect a mom to not think her kid is award-winning.” (With that I get my second chuckle of the meeting.)

The principal stands up and walks towards the front of the cafeteria. I know this type of principal very well.  He’s about 20 months shy of retirement, will do just about anything not to rock the boat and that includes letting (let’s use the political correct term for these moms) “strong willed” parents run roughshod over him as long as they don’t go bugging anybody at the district level. He looks right at me and says, “Now who are you?”

I say with a great, big, proud mommy smile, “Sam’s mom!”  So, why are you letting the PTF board do this. It’s a clear violation of FERPA. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

(Pausing a minute here to give a shout out to some alert Snarky Facebook friends who several months ago told me about FERPA.  Little did I know then that I could use this knowledge to give a lackluster principal a spanking.  That said, I don’t think FERPA really applied to this situation, but what the hell, it got the job done.)

He hems and haws a little bit and says, “Well, seeing that the PTF pays for the awards I didn’t see a problem when they approached me about taking over the award process completely.”

“That sir,” I say, “Sucks!”

For a nano second total silence and then, lead by my team, the crowd breaks out in applause.

Not waiting for the applause to die down, I add, “I will be going to the district with this, like, tomorrow.  I’m very disappointed in your leadership skills” and then for the first time in 10 minutes I sit down.

All Business stand up and says, “I think based on what we’ve heard from other parents that I’m going to make a motion that we do not approve the new by laws.”

Furry JL pops up and says, “I second it, but I think the board should get a chance to speak.”

One dad, says very sarcastically, “Haven’t they’ve done enough?”

All Business takes back control and says, “Let’s vote first.”

The Ays had it.  The new bylaws went in the toilet.

Priscilla gets her feet, leers at all of us and croaks out, “Well, without the new bylaw changes approved you don’t have a slate of PTF officers.  Have you thought of that?”

Eleanor says, ‘Yes, we have.”  She reaches down into her Whole Foods tote bag and pulls out a bunch of papers and says,”I’d like to hand out this proposed slate of officers for everyone to look at and approve for the January 2015 – January 2016 school year.”

Orphan Annie, More, Cute Blonde and Eleanor all get up to help pass out the papers. Priscilla is back sitting down on the dais and she’s whisper bitching up a storm with her officers. As the last of the papers are being passed out she stands up, grabs the microphone and says, “I make a motion that we wait one month until the next PTF meeting to vote on this proposed slate of officers.”

I stand up and say, “No one, I mean not a soul, second this. The last thing you need to do is give these women 30 days (I’m now making jabbing gestures into the air with my fingers) to come up with another way to screw you over and by that I mean screw your kids over.”

God, this was FUN!!!  And then I see Horsey Pants stand up and she smiles at me.  “Oh crap,”I’m thinking here comes that screw over.

Horsey says, “I make a motion that we vote on the proposed slate of officers right now. A whole out with the old (she says that while staring at Priscilla) and in with the new kind of thing.”

Cute Blonde quickly seconds.

All Business says, “All in favor?”

You hear a rather loud cry of “Ayes!”

The PTF board on the dais looks ready to cry and then Furry J.L. stands up and says, “I think this was done incorrectly. The motions from the floor could be invalidated because some of the officers that were on the slate made the motions indicating a conflict of interest.”

Which was true.  All Business was slated and just voted in as the President, Eleanor is the new treasurer. Cute Blonde is Fundraising, Moisturize More is Teacher Liaison and Orphan Annie is recording secretary.

Before Furry J.L. could get ruin all our hard work with her “True Life Adventures of a Junior League President” I initiate the chaos contingency plan to end the meeting fast. We got what we wanted and now everyone needed to vacate the premises – pronto.

I went to the idea I had when I first saw Pricilla’s Goldilock’s tresses at Starbucks – Head Lice.

I stand up again, put on my reading glasses and walk towards the dais, bend down, jump back and yell, “Oh my God, there’s head-lice all over this floor under this table.

Moisturize More runs up and says, “Priscilla you have nits on you right now!  Lice love chemically processed hair!”

Priscilla screams bloody murder, the rest of the six Kardashian board member jump out of their chairs, scream and because it’s human nature when something is “allegedly” on you – shake their hair.

I yell,”For God’s Sakes stop shaking your infested manes. All of you are lice bombs. Everyone clear out!”

In actuality, I had taken tiny white sesame seeds purchased from an Oriental Market and given them to Moisturize More. When her purse “accidently” dumped out on the dais before the meeting she and Cute Blonde sprinkled the seeds underneath the table. The seeds looked enough like lice, if someone called attention to them, to cause a freak out, which was all I needed.

Horsey Pants, giddy ups and follows my clear out command with, “God Priscilla isn’t this like the third time you’ve had head lice?”

Well played,Horsey Pants, well played.

As people rush to distance themselves from Team Head Lice I get Orphan Annie and we walk towards the lone back door in the cafeteria and exit. The cold breeze feels good and I start looking for a BMW sports car.  All I see is the damn conversion van. I look at Orphan Annie and say, “The Van?! I thought we were getting your husband’s car?”

“Oh,” she says, “He wouldn’t let me use it.”

Wouldn’t let you? I’m thinking I need to release myself from my vow of never offering marital advice sooner than later.

“Whatever,” I say, “Let’s get out of here.”

We both climb into the beast, it takes two tries to get the engine to turn over and after about 3 minutes were off school property and headed to the Target parking lot.

I look over at her, smile and go,  “Say it.”

“Say what?” she asks.

“You know what I’m talking about. Just say it. You can do it. It will feel good and I won’t tell a soul.”

She looks at me, laughs and goes, “I can’t. I really can’t.”

“Come on. You can do it. Just blurt it out.”

Okay, that was Ffffffff’ing Awesome!!”

I laugh and say, “Yeah, it sure was.”

Epilogue:  A New Officers Board Meeting Training is set for this Friday. To date the previous, ousted board members have yet to turn in their notebooks to the women taking over their positions which is probably just as well, what with the “lice”, and all.  Also, the day after the board meeting the children at Spring Creek Elementary had to eat lunch in their classroom because the janitorial staff, following District procedure, had to give the cafeteria a “deep clean

Snarky Note: This recounting of events, in no way, represents all Parent Teacher Organizations.  I have made some on my very best friends while serving on Parent boards. For those of you itching to get over to the comment section and call me a hater that should try volunteering at my kid’s school instead of writing a lame blog please take a deep breath and keep reading.  I have served on four Elementary School Parent boards, chaired fundraisers, ran the book fair twice, written the newsletters and been room mom more times than I have fingers to count on.  I have, though, never done any of those things while wearing horsey pants or sporting hair extensions.

 

Undercover Snarky – Almost The Conclusion

One of the last things on my to do list was to pay a visit to the now infamous (to me) Spring Creek elementary school.

The morning before the PTF meeting I’m in the school parking lot waiting for Eleanor. My plan is for both of us to walk in together, sign the parent volunteer sheet, slap on a Spring Creek Elementary School “visitor” sticker and do some recon.

Eleanor pulls up beside me and we both get out of our cars. I follow her lead as we walk into the school.  Just as I thought, it’s easy peasy to sign in at the front desk, (I don’t think the school secretary even looked up from her computer as soon as she recognized Eleanor) and walk to the workroom.  Here, like in most schools, are where you find the copy machines, paper, staplers etc and moms (I know Dad’s volunteer, but in my nine years straight of having at least one child in elementary school I have never seen a father collating worksheet packets.) allegedly assisting their child’s teacher.

The mother maybe hard at work die cutting hearts for the February bulletin boards, but she’s also multi-tasking by gossiping her ass off. That made the workroom ground zero to gauge the mood of the moms.  As Eleanor and I were about to enter the workroom she stopped short.  I asked her, “What’s up?”  Thinking our big game – Priscilla Davis might be in there.

Eleanor stepped back and said, “Crap. I hate that mom.”

I peak over her shoulder and say, “Which one are you talking about?” There were three moms in the workroom.

“The petite one right by the copier with those stupid boots on.”

I look in again and see a woman, in immediate need of a sandwich, in riding boots and freaking breeches or whatever the hell you call those pants that fancy people who ride horses wear. (Oh pardon me, I mean equestrians) Did she ride her horse to school because I didn’t see a hitching post in the parking lot?

I ask Eleanor, “Do you hate her because she wears her horsey pants to volunteer at the elementary school? Because if so, that’s enough for me?”

“No, I hate her because we’ve had kids the same age and in the same class for like five years and she never ever remembers who I am. God, I’m so sick of it. I’ve probably re-introduced myself to her 100 times.”

“Ohhhh,” I say, “One of those. A mom with a bad case of arrogance amnesia. The old ‘you’re not important enough for me to remember therefore I’ll pretend I don’t know you as a way to signal my superiority.’ Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go in there and mess with her.”

Eleanor gave me a pained expression so I said, “Correction. I’ll go in there and mess with her.  You pretend you need to make copies.”

With that we both walk into the work room and whatever conversation/gossip the three women were having stops. Eleanor says hi and I smile and nod at everyone.  Horsey pants sneers and says, “Do I know you two?

I give her an over the shoulder confused look and say, “You’re joking right?”

“No, I’m not. Have we’ve ever been introduced? She then gives both of us the snobby once over. “I don’t recollect meeting either of you and I don’t think I would know you from the club or the barn.”

THE BARN! I’m biting down on my lower lip to keep from howling and suddenly the lyrics to the classic 1950’s TV show – Mr. Ed pop into my head.  (No, I not that old, but who hasn’t heard the Mr. Ed song sometime in their childhood.) “ A horse is a horse, of course, of course, And no one can talk to a horse of course.  That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.”  What a huge Mr. Ed’s ass this woman is. I get it lady you ride horses. That doesn’t make you Kate Middleton.

Instead of singing the Mister Ed theme song I say in a very concerned voice, “Okay, now you’re scaring me. You do know me from the barn. I’m the dressage champion (points for me pulling that term right out of my butt.) and  Eleanor and you have had kids in the same class for years.”

I then do a long drawn out “Ohhhhhhh” and all of the moms give me a weird look, including Eleanor.

This is when I stick the knife in and rotate it counter-clockwise, “I am so, so sorry. I should have realized you’re going through menopause and having those memory lapse issues my mom’s Red Hat Society always talks about. Don’t worry according to my mom it all comes back after your body gets used to the non-estrogen lifestyle. You’ll be fine. Circle of life, my friend, Circle of life.”

As Horsey Pants is turning bright red I’m grabbing Eleanor’s shoulder and turning her towards the door.  We both walk out and Eleanor whispers, “Oh my God.”

I say, “I have no doubt she’ll remember you now.”

Eleanor still whispering, which was starting to aggravate me, says, “Yeah and not it a good way.”

“Stop worrying and count your blessings. I’m guessing she’ll never even make eye contact with you again. Now, where’s the cafeteria?”

Eleanor showed me the cafeteria and how the meeting would be set up. The PTF board members have the custodian set up a dais for them with microphones and a smart board. When Eleanor tells me this I look at her and ask, “How many parents come to the meeting that they need a dais and microphones?  Most elementary school PTA meetings are lucky to get two dozen parents.”

“They really publicize the meetings and they take role. Your kid isn’t eligible for any awards if at least one parent or guardian doesn’t come to a meeting.”

“Shit.” I say, “They TAKE roll. (Totally dismissing the just as shocking fact that school awards are based on parental attendance at a PTF meeting.) Why didn’t you guys tell me this? I’ll need to work around that.  Do they take roll at the beginning of the meeting? Is it a verbal roll call or do they just circulate a sign in sheet?”

“They take roll as soon as you walk in  There will be table right here and two of the board members watch you sign in.”

“Don’t tell me they check I.D.?”

“No. I don’t think so. Is this going to be a problem?”

“Maybe, but don’t worry about it.  I’ll improvise. Now show me the exits that will open and not set off an alarm.”

A couple of minutes later I feel confident that I know the school’s layout and walk back out, solo, to my car. Oh perfect, there’s Horsey Pants in the parking lot. She walks up to me and says, “Not that it’s any of your business, but I am far too young to be going through menopause.”

I was ready to just give her some more grief, but then a thought occurred to me. To pull off this scheme the Nut Ups will need parental support. This is an awesome opportunity to turn Horsey Pants into an ally.

“Hey,” I say, “You look early 30’s tops to me (Total lie. She looks 40ish on a good day.) But, Priscilla Davis has been telling everyone your going through the big M complete with drippy hot flashes. I’m sure she’s jealous of you. Seriously, everyone is. You should come to the PTF meeting tomorrow. Did you hear she’s trying to be PTF president – again?  Like she thinks she’s queen of the school or something. You want to get back at her – show up.”

“How would going to the PTF meeting get back at her?”

“I don’t really know, but I heard a rumor it’s going to be good.”

“How good?”

“How about that big, bleached blonde, head of hair of hers is going to be ground zero for a school wide lice epidemic and that’s just for starters.”

Horsey pants gave me a full mouthed smile and I my first thought was wow, those are some bad veneers. If I were her I might want to cut back on the horsey expenditures for some better cosmetic dentistry. After I got past the slipshod teeth I smiled back and said, “So, will I see you tomorrow night?”

“Oh, I’ll be there,” she purrs, “And I’ll bring friends.”

We both go to get in our cars and as she opens her door she looks back at me, wrinkles her brow, squints her eyes and says, “Are you sure I know you?”

“Yes, I’ve been at this school for years.”

 

 

Undercover Snarky – “The Game Is Afoot”

I wonder if the three flannel clad Seattle dudes that opened the coffee-house that would lead to Starbucks ever thought that their little bean store concept would become the morning hang out for every evil/hot mom and aspiring evil/hot mom, in America.

Probably not. But, if you want to observe class wars, mom cliques, eating disorders, boobs that have been, thanks to modern science, hoisted to shoulder-blade height and nostrils that have been hot waxed, cleaned and steamed (Don’t tell me you thought you could only do that to your car?) all one needs to do is head to any suburban Starbucks closest to a country club, private tennis facility or elementary school where you can play Hot Mom Car Bingo.  

In this version of bingo the center square is, of course, the Escalade. The Escalady is as common to an elementary school morning drop off scenario as a $128 Vera Bradley backpack for a kindergartener. The other squares consist of the Lexus SUV, the Lexus RX 350, the Land Rover, the BMW SUV, the Denali, the Suburban, Volvo SUV, the big ass Infiniti SUV, loaded Sequoia and there’s always one Porsche Cayenne. If it’s a Turbo Cayenne, that bad boy cost well into the six figures and it’s giving all the other mom cars the middle finger.

Trust me, if you find a Starbucks that meets 2 out of 3 of these requirements you’ve hit bitch gold.

That’s why the next morning, after last night’s meeting with the group of moms I’ve code named “Nut Ups,” I found myself at an unfamiliar Starbucks casing the joint. I had on my uniform of track pants (yes, how shocking), a fleece Kohl’s Tek Gear hoodie, and for privacy reasons, a baseball hat, pulled down low on my forehead. My only salute to fashion was a high ponytail threaded out of the back of my hat.

I had ordered myself a hot chocolate (my Diet Coke was lovingly waiting for me in the car) and had positioned myself so I could watch the door.

Very early this morning I gone on Facebook and checked out the list of names the Nut Ups had given me. I don’t mean to slow down this story, but there’s always time for a safety lesson.  People check your FB privacy settings. None of the six moms whose names I had been given had much, if any, privacy settings.

In fact, I have a theory, the more obnoxiously braggy you are on Facebook the less privacy settings you have. It’s as if you want to shout out to the world, “Look at me!  My life is fab!  I take amazing vacays! Please track me down and kill me.”  So suffice it to say I already had a lot of intel on these bitches. But, I was big game hunting so most of my attention would be focused on Priscilla Davis – PTF president at Spring Creek Elementary.

I gagged a little on my hot chocolate when Priscilla walked into Starbucks. FB did not do her justice. She looked like a combination of a not aging well Taylor Swift and Goldilocks gone bad.  Like if Goldilocks had a really big problem finding the bed that was “just right” so she keep on “trying.”

Priscilla had faux gold hair that went in ringlets all the way down her back. People, I like long hair and don’t ever propose that the middle-aged female population goes back to sensible, short hair and high-waisted, tapered to the ankle denim. But, hair that hits your butt crack is, in my opinion, not a good look when you achieve double-digit birthday status. Especially hair in ringlets that hit your butt crack. She also had a heavy hand with the eyeliner and some gold hoop earrings that could double as a towel holder in your downstairs half bath.

It was her outfit that was most telling. It showed weaknesses that I would exploit. Priscilla had on a tennis skirt, tennis warm up jacket, a fur vest, yoga pants under the tennis skirt and of course, freaking Uggs.

Many women where I live wear yoga pants under their tennis skirts. You can’t go to the grocery store and not see at least 3 Tenoga moms. I would bet a portion of my 401 k that not a one of these moms even plays tennis or has ever done a “plough” on a yoga mat  I call it the “active douchy mom on the go” look. What was high value intel about Priscilla’s outfit is that it showed a woman who was afraid. Excellent.

Blame it on the recent Sherlock Holmes movie, but I fancy myself a modern-day mom version of Holmes. By dissecting Priscilla’s appearance from the head down I found out that she has an abnormal attachment to super long hair – signaling a need to hold on to her childhood. This most likely is due to some kind of childhood trauma.  (Parental divorce etc).

The hair is also her security blanket. She can’t let it go. The fact that she couldn’t wear just a tennis outfit and had to mix it up with Uggs, yoga pants and that really tacky fur vest suggests she refuses to be stripped of any of her physical trappings.

For instance if she walked into Starbucks in just a tennis skirt, hoodie and tennis shoes with that icky  hair pulled out of her face, with no eyeliner she would feel naked, maybe invisible This chick has a narcissistic need to be the center of attention.

The hideous furry Uggs, the fur vest and full make up and hair is how she signals her hot mom pecking order. I had all this figured out before she opened her mouth. It was when the witch ordered a Venti hot water with lemon that I added crazy to my list.

The hot water order says so much. Primarily it’s a female power play. Everyone else at your table is drinking some sort of beverage that has a modicum of calories – sugar-free syrup be damned or while, perhaps calorie free has some kind of chemical additive like equal.

You, are better, than that. You, are drinking only hot water. That means you win. By that one simple order you have signaled your superiority. The hot water is the big FU. The lemon is your nod to the food groups and your prop.

You can squeeze it, stir the juice in your cup of hot water, and caress the rind as it lays flaccid on your napkin. This keeps everyone’s eyes on you, your hot water and your absolute control.  It’s as if your saying, “Go ahead you losers at my table.  Drink that crap. I will sit here, sip hot water and make you feel as uncomfortable as I can.”

The hot water ploy is also a 100% guarantee that at least one person will make the comment, “That’s why are your so skinny. Oh my Gawd, I wish I had your willpower.” Yes, it’s all about  the power.

Once Priscilla set down with her flashy flock of aging crows I scored a seat, not right next to them, but across the aisle. The morning sun was shining in the windows so it didn’t look weird that I had on my sunglasses. I did the 21st century version of “I’m important” and stared down at my phone. What I was really doing was listening.

They talked about their appearance, dissected other’s peoples appearance, shopping for “darling” jeans, their children and finally their children’s school. These women were ripe for a takeover. They were full of themselves, puffed up, and cocky.

They were all, “We’ve got this.” I was hoping that by next week I could ensure that what they got what was exactly what they deserved.

Two Days Before the PTF Meeting

On Monday morning, two days before the Wednesday PTF meeting, I invited the Nut Ups to my house for a rehearsal. I needed to make sure these 5 women knew exactly what they needed to do. I couldn’t have anybody get scared, squeamish or confused. At exactly 10 a.m. I hear a rumble in my driveway. It’s the freaking conversion van. The Nut Ups had carpooled.

I welcome them into my house and gave extra credit to Eleanor who brought me a fresh Diet Coke, in a 32 ounce styrofoam cup (my beverage container of choice) with my favorite kind of ice – crushed. I shooed everyone into my dining room where I had muffins and assorted drinks laid out plus paper, pens and a handout. And because I believe in leaving nothing to chance I had produced a time line for the take over of the PTF meeting.  I also had given our mission, for fun, a code name, BBG -Bitches Be Gone.

The meeting started out on the wrong foot. Immediately, Orphan Annie objected to the word bitches. Apparently, she was still “reeling” from my “cursing episode” at McDonalds.

I do a swear word inventory in my head and can only come up with three that I probably used – damn, hell and bitches.  Those are itsy bitsy, teeny, tiny curse words. It’s not like I was spewing F bombs. This made me f’ing mad. To think I baked from scratch for this group.

I said, “Orphan Annie, seriously, we are about to do battle with a sorority of evil.  To do this you and everyone else at this table are going to have to leave Goody Two Shoe Land where you’ve allowed, that’s right, ALLOWED yourself and YOUR children to be victimized and enter the world of Kick Some Ass. If you feel more comfortable wearing a Forever Lazy of “Oh look at me, I’m so sweet and gentle that cursing hurts my feelings” then we should just stop right now. I need devious, sneaky, smart women sitting at this table.”

I paused to catch my breath and to cool down. I was still super ticked. As I’m exhaling, Moisturize More, bangs her fist on the table and says, “I’m in!” and then to my delight, she shouts so loud my dogs bark, “I want to get those f’ing bitches!”

Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.  A show of spirit and cursing all while shoving a blueberry muffin in your face. That’s my kind of girl

Eleanor soon follows with, “Hell yes, we want to do this!”

All Business even stands up and says, “BBG is on.”

Cute Blonde responds with, “I’m kind of scared, but I know I’ll regret if I don’t do anything so let’s go.”

All heads turn towards Orphan Annie, I’m thinking to myself, “Girl get a backbone,” when she looks up at all of us and says, “Oh my God, oh my God, I’ll do it, but please tell me it will all work out alright?”

I looked her right in the eyes and say with every bit of sincerity I have, “Yes, it will all work out alright. I’m sure of it.”

Although, I wasn’t, but I figured it’s what she needed to hear. You know kind of like when you tell your husband sex was great, but the whole time you were really going over the carpool schedule for the week in your head and thinking your husband might need get that mole on his left shoulder checked.

Orphan Annie then had a moment of conscience and wanted all of us to pray about whether or not we should really do the PTF meeting intervention. That felt weird to me. I’m so over people using prayer as an excuse to never have to make a decisive decision in their life.  It’s not that I don’t believe in prayer.

I was praying right now that the Conversion Van wasn’t leaking oil in my driveway because my husband wouldn’t notice me mowing the lawn naked, (to be fair he probably would, but only to tell me to put some shoes on) but oil on his precious driveway well, I’d hear about that as in, “Where did the damn oil leak came from?”

So I said,” Really, do you think we should pray for the downfall of others – even if they are daughters of Satan?  I suggest, we continue with the meeting then in private do our praying.”

That appeased Orphan Annie so finally we could get to my timeline.

I walked everyone through exactly what I was going to do at the meeting. Then I had everyone role play about what they were going to do. We went over and over it. I wanted everyone to be confident and not timid. When I felt all the Nut Ups had their parts down I approached the subject of what they should wear to the meeting. No frumps allowed.

This meant the anti hot mom outfit of jeans, generic fleece top and clogs would not be allowed. I encouraged every women to dress up, not be afraid to use concealor and shared that a little eyeliner was good for the soul.

I slyly managed to mention that a new European Waxing studio had just opened and they were doing a first wax for free promotion. As I’m saying this I make eye contact with Orphan Annie.  I told Cute Blonde she needed to channel her inner hottie.  We needed her to take her youth (I found out she was 25 freaking years old!) and just rub it the face of the peri-menopausal PTF board.

She had what they no longer were and could never be again – young. I instructed her to strut her slut all around the cafeteria that night.  It would distract and piss off the PTF bitches and I needed that diversion if we were going to pull this off.

Last on my list for the meeting was a get away car.  I had learned the hard way (see Warning A Science Fair Can Be Hazardous to Your Health.) that if you’re going to stir things up you better be sure there’s a car waiting to speed you away from the land of hostile moms.

Orphan Annie perked up and said she could drive the get away vehicle. I think, no where in the heist, scheme or covert operation arena, would one’s first thought be, “Hell yeah, a 13 passenger Conversion Van makes the perfect quick get away.” Before I can politely say, “We probably need something a little smaller.”

She shouts out, “I can use my husband’s car.  He drives a BMW M3 Coupe.”

This totally distracts me. My mind instantly goes to a marriage where the wife would be stuck with an aging crap ass van while the husband drives a top of the line sports car. I was thinking Orphan Annie had much bigger problems in her life then a mustache and the PTF board. But I file away that thought for another time and say, “Yeah, sounds great.  You’re my getaway driver.”

The meeting lasted almost two hours. The Nut Ups left my house pumped. I was feeling optimistic and excited.  The show down was in T minus 56 hours.

Coming soon – The PTF Meeting

 

Undercover Snarky

 It is not humanly possible for me to mind my own business.

Some may call that an immense character flaw. I call it the makings of a great humanitarian. I proudly choose to not live a life of suburban isolation. Instead I choose suburban pot stirring.  So that’s why when a friend of mine asked for help breaking up a PTA coven, instead of saying, “What the hell?”  I said, “Hell yes!”

I meet Eleanor last year. We both had children who were doing a club sport. Which in my neck of the burbs means your child has aged out of playing on neighborhood teams and now seeks to empty your wallet by being on a team that requires “try outs.”

Beware newbie parents of any sport that has a “try out” criteria. It’s code for “this is going to cost you a whole bunch of money.” I’m not kidding about this. One of my (many) money-making schemes is starting some kind of competitive league for something or other like the Blue Ribbon Elite Breathing Society.

All parents (suckers that we are) need to hear is the word elite, select or competitive and we’ll pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of our child being one of the chosen ones. It’s an awesome business venture.  Parents fork out money for the lessons, the league events, the extra training/coaching sessions, the uniforms, travel, registration fees etc. Talk about a cozy little nest egg.

There are upsides to club sports. One of them is that your child gets to meet and compete with a lot of kids outside their school district environs. Which, of course, means you, the parent, also get to meet a lot of new people. That’s how Eleanor and I became friends and bonded on the bleachers.

This fall Eleanor began sharing tales of what life was like at her youngest child’s elementary school. Most of the stories focused on the PTA. Which sounded like a domestic terrorist organization that vajazzles. Hello, Homeland Security.

I, with my giving spirit, would offer advice as in: “By God, if my kid went to that school I would do blah, blah and blah.”

We’ve all done it – talking big and braggy about how if we were in someone else’s shoes what we would do  and how it would be infinitely superior to whatever they were doing.

I find woman are most vocal about any kind of husband misbehavior. Brace yourself for the onslaught of righteous indignation flimsily disguised as advice if any friend, colleague, acquaintance or airplane seat mate confides or confesses that their spouse is a huge jack hole.

We will get all worked up, offer a slew of “you should do this” guidance and then snuggle up and get cozy in our blanket of “I feel so blessed” (and by that we mean superior) because our husband “would never to do that.”  Really, a good tale of someone’s jerk of a husband can make your whole day.

Well, just after the new year Eleanor decided to take me up on some my esteemed advice. She requested my assistance with her daughter’s elementary school PTA.  I was all, “Of course, what can I do to help?”

I was assuming she desired more of my sage wisdom and Lord knows hearing myself talk while offering advice are two of most favorite things in the whole wide world right behind Diet Coke and Target. But no, Eleanor wanted a little more from me than my vocal cord calisthenics.  She wanted me to get involved, mix it up, if you will, with the PTA board. She wanted me to go to their next meeting. Oh my, this was quite a gift.

It’s one thing to go to your own kids schools and do a little PTA throw down. Yet, you can really only go so far.  For the most part you have to behave yourself because you’re forced to interact with these women everyday and there’s the principal and usually a few teachers at the meetings. So you can’t go full-out crazy mom. You have to be tactical and a little more stealth.

It’s a long-term mission that requires a mixture of covert ops and perhaps some incendiary devices.  But, just think of the crap you could rain down on a PTA meeting where you would possibly never see or have contact with any of the people again.  For me, it was the stuff dreams are made of.

Before I bellowed yes and jumped in the air while doing fist pumps I told Eleanor she would have to go more in-depth about what the problem is they wanted resolved.  What was their goal? In addition I would need a little face time with the “other moms” she kept talking about that also desired my help.

A meet and greet was scheduled for the next day at 4:30. The “other moms” would meet us outside the building where Eleanor’s and my kid practiced. I came prepared with my trusty reporters notebook (Staples 2 for $3. You should pick up a few. Also great for grocery lists.)  As I’m talking with Eleanor and freezing my butt off, a white, a little bit worse for wear, Conversion van pulls up that looks like something John and Kate Plus 8 drove pre marital meltdown.

The van stops, Eleanor waves, a passenger window rolls down and a woman who needs to up her moisturizer game (maybe a night-time serum with some retinol A and a vitamin C chaser) says, “Get in.”

For a second I thought, “Get in? Was I being kidnapped? I was doing these ladies a favor. Not that I expected anyone to say, “Welcome, Oh Great One.” (It would have been nice) but, seriously, “Get in?”

I looked at Eleanor and she whispered, “They’re kind of skittish about this whole thing, but it will be okay.”

I replied in a very definite non-whisper, “Yeah, well if any of this is going to work these moms need to nut up.”

(By the way, what is the female equivalent of nut up?  Would it be ovary up? Get your fallopian tube out of a bunch or unclench your uterus, is that even possible? None of those sound nearly as good to me as the classic “Nut Up.”)

I reluctantly climbed in the van and I’m greeted by first the reek of boy feet, with an underlay of fermented french fry and finished off with  the funk of unidentified lunch box refuse. It was a turbo sinus cleanse.

There are four women already seated in the van. The driver, a friendly woman with curly hair and a big smile. Like Little Orphan Annie all grown up. She must suffer from some sort of terminal nasal passage blockage (I’m thinking a tumor – hopefully benign) because I don’t know how she drives this van everyday without a) passing out or b) taking it to the nearest full service car-wash for a complete detail job.

There was the window greeter – Moisturize More.  She seemed pretty no-nonsense.  I was poised not to like her, but then I noticed we had on identical track pants and I knew I had found a kindred spirit.

In the back row of seats was a very pretty young mom with short blonde hair that accented her wrinkle free face. (I’m thinking – show off.) Next to her was Ms. All Business. This mom had the body language of a woman who could run a Fortune 500 company and the militant bob haircut that would like great in an Ann Taylor suit.

Eleanor and I sat down in the middle row of seats and Moisturize More asked if I wanted a drink and lifted the lid off a cooler filled with Diet Pepsi.

My friends, this is when I began to feel more than a little disrespected.  Diet Pepsi, in a can, not even a bottle, in a cooler, in a I’m guessing, 1994 Conversion van with odor issues.  Was this anyway to woo someone to do your bidding?  Hell no.

My first order of business was to class up this group. I suggested, okay demanded in a chit chatty way, to, at the very least, be taken to a McCafe, which is McDonalds attempt to be swanky and yet still serve the same addictive swill. They do, though, have Diet Coke on tap and even the aromatic stylings of McRib would smell way better than this van.

Orphan Annie, looks at Eleanor and says, “Do you think it would safe?”

I look around at all of them say, “There’s a McCafe right down the street. Why wouldn’t it be safe?”

Eleanor says, “No, no, it’s not that. We’re worried about being seen or overheard talking by the PTA board.”

I said, “I’m willing to take that chance. Now are we going or not?”

Orphan Annie said, “Sure, if everyone thinks it’s okay,” and starts driving towards the McCafe.

I’m sitting there thinking while trying not to breathe through my nose, “Holy crap, these women act like a bunch of battered wives.  Who the hell is scared of their PTA board? Ovary up, indeed!”

Part 2

I get this motley crew hustled into the McCafe, grab a Diet Coke, and herd everyone into a booth in the back. After taking a few calming, curative sips of America’s favorite sugar-free beverage I flat-out ask, with cursing, which I usually don’t do unless I know someone fairly well, but I felt the situation warranted it.  Plus, I’m still peeved about the Diet Pepsi.

So, I say, “What the hell could a PTA board do that has you all so spooked.  I’m a little embarrassed that a bunch of freaking grown women could be such damn cowards.  Are these women packing heat? Have they threatened you or your children with physical violence?”

More Moisturizer gets frowny faced. Ms. Business sits up all straight and starts working her bob like a pendulum by shaking her head at me. (It was a little hypnotic.) Orphan Annie gasps. Cute Blonde just sits there looking about 12 years old (still hating her) and Eleanor simultaneously apologizes to me about her friends and then apologizes to her friends about me.

I hold up my hand and say, “Let’s not waste our time with good manners. I’ve got about 30 minutes before I have to start the kid retrieval process. So someone please tell me what’s the damn deal.”

It got quiet.  I took another sip of my Diet Coke and surprisingly Cute Blonde is the one who speaks up. She says, “These woman run the school and if we say or do anything they don’t like we’re afraid they’ll take it out on our kids.”

I immediately go for the follow-up question. “Can you give me some examples of how they run the school?”

Ms. Business perks up and I hear her speak for the first time, “Well, they’re so bad the principal is afraid to mess with them.  Which I don’t understand because it’s not like they can fire him, but by the way he acts you would sure think they could.”

Cute Blonde interjects, “They’ve gotten two teachers fired!”

Orphan Annie adds, “They’ve taken over things that used to be the job of the principal and teachers. Like they now decide on Student of the Month and do the school awards at the end of the year. You cross them and your kid gets nothing.”

Finally Moisturize More says with wet eyes, “I tried, nicely tried, to talk with the President about maybe changing a fundraising policy and my three kids were left out of the Award Ceremony.  They were never called up once and her one child got Student of the Month three times last year, three damn times!”

My eyes are now popping out of my head.  his went straight from WTH to WTF.  I say, “Okay, okay, this is all outrageous and horrible, but why do you want me to go the meeting next week and what do you want me to do? I don’t think me showing up and announcing to the whole pack of them that they are on the Terrorist Watch Short List is going to do you any good besides the obvious and short-term pleasure of seeing them get ticked off.”

Ms. Business says, “Some sneaky stuff happened over the winter break. This group of officers were all supposed to be moving off the board. Their terms were up. But over Christmas they re-wrote the bylaws in executive session and extended the number of years you can serve as a PTF (Parent Teacher Family) board member to 3 years.”

Huh?  Bylaws and PTF.  I thought we were talking about PTA and I don’t do bylaw throw downs.  God, I’m thinking, this is a mess.

Moisturize More adds, “At the general meeting next week is when the “new” officers will be voted in.  This is the only chance to get these bitches off the board.”

I was encouraged to hear swearing. It meant the women were warming up to me and shows they have a fighting spirit after all. “Do you ladies have any ideas of how you would like to go about this?’ I ask.

Orphan Annie says very quickly, “We were hoping you would show up and from the floor introduce another slate of officers to be voted on.”

Oh crap, here I was hoping for a smack down in the cafeteria and these chicks wanted to do revenge by Roberts Rules of Order. So, not my style.

I set there sipping my Diet Coke saying nothing and thinking. It’s obvious these poor women needed my help and at least two of them could use a make-over day at Macy’s  I already hated the PTF (whatever) board of pure evil so my instinct was to jump in and attempt to kick some ass.

Those power perverted women needed to be walking around that school, still licking their post PTF meeting wounds on Field Day.  I just wasn’t sure how I was going to approach this one. It wasn’t something that could be done by brute force. It needed finesse and a certain level of knowledge about boring crap like parliamentary procedure. I had nothing. No idea how to pull this off.

I looked up at everyone and said, “I’m in, but it’s going to take a lot of work. I’ll need deep background on every board member. Most importantly are any of them currently a lawyer, a paralegal, married to a lawyer or the daughter of a lawyer.

Secondly, I need cover. When I show up at the meeting everyone has to believe for 30 minutes that my kid goes to that school. Get me the most common first name of the boys at your school.  Is it Michael? It is Jack? Find out. Third, I need to know where the meeting is taking place and a tour of the school. Lastly, I need to observe these mega witches in their natural habitat or lair.  I want to see what I’m up against.

I was glad to see Orphan Annie taking notes. Plans were made. Assignments were given.  It looked like the next day I would be going to Starbucks to spy on my newest nemesis (God, that nemesis list of mine is long.) – the board president. She did not disappoint. What do you say about a woman who goes to Starbucks and orders a Venti hot water with lemon?

I say she’s one crazy, super skinny, hungry bitch.  How fitting that a size 14 mom was going to attempt to bring her down.

Check out Undercover Snarky – The Game Is Afoot for the next installment.


The Suburban Anthropologist’s Definitive Guide to the Elementary School Mother (Revised for 2013)

imagesAs another school year is beginning I would be remiss if I didn’t share this compelling research completed by my keen scientific mind (and by scientific I mean snarky). I consider myself one of the foremost Suburban Anthropologists currently working today.  My area of expertise is the suburban elementary school mother. Known in the science community as -”Mater Ludem.” In my study I have documented that elementary school moms can be placed into 17 distinct species categories. (In alphabetical order)

Bling Bling Mom: Bling Bling yearns to the center of attention. You can spot her a mile away because of her tendency to over bedazzle. From excessive cleavage to turbo tanning Bling Bling likes to think she’s one hot mama. Not big on volunteering she will help out on any “dad heavy” events like Field Day and attend the parent only fundraisers where she usually over imbibes and hits on someone else’s spouse. Her female offspring can easily be identified as the little girls wearing large diamond hoop earrings and kitten heels in kindergarten.

Enviro-Organic Police Mom: This is the sugar buster mom or as I call her, while shoveling McDonald french fries down my pie hole, the no fun mom. The Enviro- Organic Police Mom is armed with science and lots of good sense but her crusade is not tempered with compassion. She’s the mom responsibility for the sugar-free birthday party treats rule, the fruits and vegetables only school holiday parties and the no bake sales or cake walks at the school fair edict. I applaud her healthy mission. I object to her condescending manner. Just because a child has experienced the unfettered joys of the Happy Meal does not a bad mom make. The Enviro-Organic Police Mom can usually be seen wearing hemp shorts, a sustainably grown bamboo velour hoodie, and organic cotton tennis shoes with natural Amazon hevea rubber soles. Do not let her see you with a plastic water bottle.The lecture will be long and intense. Her offspring can be found at my house eating tablespoons of refined white sugar and Duncan Hines brownie batter.

Facebooker/Twittering/Instagrammer: Say hello the social media whore. This is the mom’s whose self-worth is measured by how many followers she has on her various social media sites and she’ll even stoop so low as to request your kids be her “friend”. No hum drum detail of her day is so insignificant it’s not worthy of being status updated, tweeted or shared. Avoid this woman at all cost and if you do see do not make direct eye contact. Chances are if you so much as glimpse in her direction you’ll wind up on her Twitter feed as #momsatmykidsschoolaresostupid

Hipster Mom: Look for the mom in the tight indie rock band t-shirt, cargo pants, some kind of ski hat, (although it’s 97 degrees out), and the newest funky athletic shoe/sandal hybrid and it’s a pretty safe bet you’ve found the Hipster Mom. She excels at being cool and has extensive knowledge of off the beaten track eco-vacations, the latest, tastiest sustainable wheat harvested micro brew, and her iTunes is jammed with the most “awesome up and coming bands ever.” She’s the female version of Peter Pan, never growing up, stuck somewhere in between her senior year in college and grad school.  Her kids are way cool with long hair that looks like it’s never seen a brush, and baggy, saggy, yet expensive clothes that say edgy with a touch of vintage rocker.

iPadder: Beware of this mother at any school event and for the love of God do not sit anywhere near her. She will block your view of the school play, choir recital, band concert – you name it with her iPad hoisted up in the air. When not using her tablet to record every precious waking moment of her children’s life you can find her with her head down transfixed on her iPad. This mom has lost the ability to engage in the conversational arts as Candy Crush is taking up all of her free time.

Marathon Mom: You see this mom running most mornings apres school drop off.  She volunteers for events that feature some kind of physical fitness. She’s usually clad in spandex running pants, jog bra and a huge runners watch to track her time and distance. This mom is motivated and dedicated as long as school events do not interfere with her training schedule and marathon dates. The Marathon Mom can tend to her volunteer obligations all while jogging in place, checking her heart rate, de-wedging her Nike thong underwear and sniffing her armpits.

Mean Girl: Like cockroaches mean girls never die. They grow up and spawn mean children. This is the girl who made you cry in middle school, who you hid from in high school and the one you tried to keep out of your sorority by hiding her legacy references. The Mean Girl is up at the elementary school under the guise of volunteering, but it’s really to stir up trouble. She’s the mom who corrects the Friday spelling tests and then blabs about which kids got bad grades. She’s a fixture at every school function not to help, but to complain about how it is being run and/or start rumors about PTA malfeasance. No surprise her children are school bullies, yet in her eyes, they can do no wrong. She circumvents any of her child’s discipline problems by threatening to take legal action against the district.

Mom Jeans: A staple of any elementary school. The mom who time forgot. Her high-waisted jean clad lower half is usually paired with a tucked in knit shirt (that totally emphasizes the hideousness of the mom jean) and generic sneakers. Her hair is short and facial waxing is a foreign concept. The typical Mom Jean works in the background of school events preferring to keep an extremely low profile.  Although, there have been reports of Mom Jeans with superior math skills ascending to the “lofty” position of PTA Treasurer.

The Old (insert city or town of your choice here) Mom: The old designation does not refer to the Mom’s age, but her family’s social standing as in “She’s Old Dallas” translation she’s “old money” or “once upon a time money.”  Many of the Old (insert city or town of your choice here) Moms trade on the history of what once was and try to block out their more meager 21st century financial situation. This is evidenced by the fact that her children are in public schools.The Old (insert city or town of your choice here) Mom usually has at least four names, with at least one being ridiculous – like Windsor Astor Carnegie Ford.  Her friends call her Winnie or Tor. You don’t call her anything because she doesn’t make eye contact with your kind.  And by your kind, I mean those of us who not only shop at Target, but worship its mighty therapeutic powers. This Mom can be seen at school liberally name dropping and planning her 6 year olds birthday day party with a debutante ball worthy zeal.  Her volunteer skills are not wasted on the elementary school level, but saved for black tie events that may make society news.  One quirk in the Old (insert city or town of your choice here) Mom is that she is surprisingly cheap when it comes to donating to the school.  No contributions made to the school raffle, teacher birthday party fund or even a school directory purchase.  Rumors abound that she habitually forgets her wallet at lunch and one summer never paid for her children’s private swim lessons.  Her female offspring can be identified by their monogrammed hair bows and Lilly Pulitzer shorts.  Her male offspring by their collection of exclusive summer camp T-shirts.

Phoner: We’ve seen this category drop off in numbers as more and more Phoner Moms became Texter Moms or iPadders.  Although, the volume is still significant enough to warrant entry into the study.  The Phoner Mom can be seen and heard yakking into her phone during any and all school functions. Her phone turns her into a play-by-play announcer at kid’s events.  Empirical data example – at school concerts the Phoner Mom is sharing every bit of the action with her phone.  “Oh, there’s Eddie. He’s walking on stage. He looks so cute. I wish you could see him.  I’m waving at him now. He saw me. He’s waving back.”  This goes on for the entire concert. The Phoner Mom’s unhealthy relationship with her mobile device makes it impossible for her to follow school protocol and turn her cell off.  She just can’t do it. No amount of dirty looks from other parents, no intervention from school authorities is enough to break the hold the phone has on her.  She’ll need rehab and a 12 step program to successfully battle this addiction.  Research shows that the phone is a gateway drug that without treatment eventually leads to dual Texter/iPad Mom syndrome.

 Poser: This mom uses the elementary school as her own personal fashion runway.  Every foray into the school is a chance for this Mom to show you what she’s got in her closet.  She comes to pose not to participate. I estimate her morning grooming ritual takes at least two hours. Class party equals Rock & Republic skinny jeans and off the shoulder Marc Jacobs cashmere sweater.  P.T.O. meeting means Tori Burch sundress and matching flats. Her other identifying feature is gianormous bug eye sunglasses.  If the paparazzi frequented elementary schools and In Style magazine did fashion layouts featuring mom’s in the burbs then the Poser Mom’s life would be complete.

 Stiletto: The Stiletto Mom can be identified by her smoking hot shoes. I’m talking Sex in the City worthy footwear. Think Manolo Blahnik’s $965 Chiffon Open-Toe Bootie sandal/stiletto.  When she walks onto school property you hear her first. The distinctive sound of handcrafted Italy leather shoes with an outrageous heel clipping down the hall.  This mom is rarely sited on the grounds of an elementary school.  She’s a career mom with a capital C and doesn’t have much time in her schedule to make frequent appearances at school. Everything about her denotes power and prestige. Her clothes are as expensive as her footwear. She smells like money. If money smells like the Neiman’s couture department. When she shows up though she delivers. Cookies for the school party – they’re not just grocery store bakery issued.  They’re one-of-a-kind creations by a celebrated pastry chef.  Her off spring is the one that is not hugging his/her mom.  Stiletto child learns at an early age not to touch Mommy’s clothes with eager, potentially paste encrusted or magic marker stained hands.

Texter: The Texter Mom can be identified by her obsession with her smart phone. At any school event she can be found transfixed by her phone.  Cradling it lovingly in her hands as her thumbs work themselves into a frenzy.  No matter what is happening at the school her face never leaves her phone screen.  I’ve conducted several experiments over the course of the year to determine the Texter’s love affair with her phone in correlation to her motherly devotion to her child.  Sadly, I must report the phone won – handedly. Here is sampling of data from my research: Child on stage during a performance – Mom’s face staring at phone.  Child taking part in athletic event – Mom’s visual acuity focused on phone screen. Child in spelling bee – Mom’s face still implanted on phone, thumbs moving at high rate of speed.  The last bit of research that sealed the Texter Mom’s cellular preoccupation leaning towards an O.C.D. diagnosis was the Mom texting during her child’s parent-teacher conference.

Two Faced Roving Gossip: Dangerous if cornered the Two Faced Roving Gossip is a nomad moving between all the species categories. How else would she collect ingredients for her slander stew.  Her strength lies in her ability to be a chameleon changing her personality to suit each group and ferret out half-truths and facts to disseminate with the school’s parent population.

Vajazzler:  (Bling Bling Mom’s hotter sister) Her credo is: “I’m hot and you’re not.”  She works the elementary school environment just like she used to work the stage at the “gentleman’s club” – proud and loud. Her biggest challenge is remaining upright due to her overwhelming breast enhancement, that gravity being what it is, tends to tip her over at times. Look for the Vajazzler rubbing up against all the dads at school functions and not being afraid to “bust a move” during Field Day.  Beware having your child go to her house for a playdate. Rumor has it there’s a pole in her bedroom.

Worker Bee: This mom is the glue that holds the school volunteer effort together. She can been seen buzzing around the school multi-tasking at events and doing most of the heavy lifting.  Her unique trait is the ability to give a non- volunteer (i.e. The Poser) a blistering evil eye while simultaneously running the school fair and laminating children’s artwork. She also excels at self-control.  She can listen to anti-volunteer moms (i.e. The Mean Girls) complain about how “lame” a school function is and not punch them hard right in the face. Her identifying physical traits are dark circles under her eyes and hair that you know she’s going to color or highlight just as soon as the fundraiser is over.

Yoga Pant/Ugg Mom: From the first day of school to the last this is the mom who you will never see in anything but Yoga pants and Uggs. It doesn’t matter if it’s 110 degrees and the National Weather  Service has issued a heat advisory this mom will still be yanking on black yoga pants and her beloved fur-lined Uggs. This outfit is most often accessorized with a Venti Starbucks and a superior attitude.

No species groups are pure. In my research I have found that some moms are adept at shape shifting from one group to another or not being fully part of one group but having attributes of several different species.  For example, a Mean Girl could also be an Old (insert city or town of your choice here) Mom and a Poser or a Mom Jeans could also be a iPadder or a Phoner. As in any research you should factor in some degree of author bias. Yet, I think you will find my methodology holds true and my data is sound. For I am, if nothing else, a professional.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new Spring/Summer  Snarky line of clothing and accessories. Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.) Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.